Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

Ocean Life, Planet Health

Sept 2011 eNews

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences
News for September 22, 2011

“A Revelation from the Deep…”
Bigelow discovery published in Science
Photo by Dennis Griggs.

Scientists at the Laboratory’s Single Cell Genomics Center, working in collaboration with an international team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, the University of Vienna, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, have discovered that vast numbers of bacteria living in complete darkness throughout the deep ocean are able to use carbon dioxide to grow, just as phytoplankton in the upper layers of the ocean use sunlight for photosynthesis. The discovery provides major new insights about the role that deep ocean bacteria play in the global carbon cycle. The team’s research findings have been published in the September 2, 2011 issue of the journal Science. Senior Research Scientist Dr. Ramunas Stepanauskas is the paper’s senior author; Bigelow Postdoctoral Researcher Dr. Brandon Swan is first author.

Special Arctic Ocean Issue of Oceanography Magazine
Senior Research Scientist Dr. Paty Matrai is co-editor of a special issue on the Arctic Ocean published by Oceanography, the magazine of The Oceanography Society (Volume 24, Number 3, September 2011 The Changing Arctic Ocean). The issue describes a multitude of research programs stemming from the fourth International Polar Year, discussing the science necessary to develop “a policy framework that will balance human interests in the Arctic against the protection of this unique environment…[and] the necessity for the world to observe the Arctic routinely, adapting and employing technology now common at lower latitudes to meet the particular challenges of the North.” Matrai’s co-editors are Dr. Joseph D. Ortiz, Department of Geology, Kent State University; Dr. Kelly K. Falkner, Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation; and Dr. Rebecca A. Woodgate, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington. Copies of Oceanography (including back issues) may be purchased directly from The Oceanography Society.

Photo by Carlton Rauschenberg.

New Research Grant from NASA

The coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi, abundant throughout the world’s ocean, covers itself with calcium carbonate platelets. Photo by Dr. Dolors Blasco, Institute de Cienas del Mar, Barcelona, Spain.

Senior Research Scientist Dr. Barney Balch has received a three-year, $649,999 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to validate satellite calculation protocols for estimating amounts of particulate inorganic carbon (calcium carbonate) in the ocean using satellite measurements from space. The Balch Ocean Observing and Optics team is one of the few groups in the world that focuses on the linkages between ocean radiometry and suspended calcium carbonate, the dense mineral that is critical for driving the ocean’s biological carbon pump and is formed by ubiquitous phytoplankton known as coccolithophores. The researchers will focus on three major ocean expeditions to poorly sampled regions of the world’s Southern Ocean. The new grant will make it possible to continue critical work to ensure accurate global satellite measurements of particulate carbon in the sea.

Technology Transfer Agreements with Satlantic, Inc. and BioProcess Algae, LLC
The Laboratory has entered into new agreements with Satlantic, Inc. in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and BioProcess Algae, LLC, based in Providence, Rhode Island. The agreements will streamline the pipeline between research discoveries and technologies at the Laboratory and their commercialization in the private sector. An Exclusive Technology License Agreement with Satlantic, which develops precision optical sensors for aquatic research and water quality monitoring, provides the company with exclusive use rights to Bigelow Laboratory’s Underway Aiming System (UAS™) software, developed by Senior Research Scientist Dr. Barney Balch and Research Associate Bruce Bowler. A Master Professional Research Services Agreement with BioProcess Algae, a world leader in design, manufacture, and operation of integrated systems for efficient cultivation of algae biomass, will allow the company to work with the Laboratory’s J.J. MacIsaac Facility for Aquatic Cytometry to select algal cultures for sustainable biomass production for use in human nutrition, animal feeds, and biofuels.

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences …exploring the world’s ocean, from microbes to global ecosystems


Gulf of Maine and the World Ocean: REU Award for Best Presentation

Photo by Rebecca Fowler.

Alexandra Lopez (Bigelow REU Class of 2011) has received a $1,000 travel award for the best poster and talk presented at this summer’s REU research symposium. The award, funded by the National Science Foundation and Bigelow Laboratory, will cover Lopez’s expenses to attend the next meeting of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) in February 2012, or another national meeting of her choice. Lopez is from Corozal, Puerto Rico, and is a senior at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, San German, majoring in microbiology. Mentored by Drs. Emily Fleming and Manuel Garcia during the 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, Lopez worked in in the Bigelow Geomicrobiology Laboratory and Single Cell Genomics Center; her project focus was on “Heterotrophic vs Autotrophic Metabolism in Iron Bacterium Leptothrix ochracea.”

Power Breakfast in Brunswick September 30
Join Mark Bloom, the Laboratory’s Director of Corporate Alliances and Technology Transfer for a “Power Breakfast” from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. on Friday, September 30 in Brunswick, Maine. Bloom will be one of three panelists speaking about Strengthening the Competitive Edge for Maine Businesses: Strategic Partnerships with Academic Institutions. Other panelists are Don Gooding, Executive Director of the Maine Center for Enterprise Development, and Maureen Largay, CEO of Resilient Tier-V. The event is co-sponsored by 1group, Resilient Tier V, and Bigelow Laboratory. More information and online registration is available through the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber. Please RSVP by September 27, 2011.

Café Scientifique Survey: It’s Not Too Late!
The number of responses to the 2011 Summer Café Scientifique online survey continues to grow. If you attended one (or more) of our science conversations, please take a moment and fill out our online questionnaire. A plankton refrigerator magnet will be yours!

Pemaquid Oyster Festival: Celebrating a Local Bivalve

Photo courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Be sure to visit the Laboratory’s display at the annual Pemaquid Oyster Festival, beginning at noon on Sunday, September 25, at Schooner Landing in Damariscotta, Maine. The festival features an extensive line-up of entertainment, food, and educational exhibits, including the second annual Maine Champion Oyster Shucking Contest—the winner will qualify to compete in the National Oyster Shucking Contest in St. Mary’s, Massachusetts on October 15 and 16, 2011.

Become a member of the Bigelow Discovery Team!

Photo by Rebecca Fowler.

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